Suburban trains to run sans hawkers
Kolkata: Suburban Train services, suspended in March in the wake of COVID-19, will resume on Wednesday. However, hawkers will not be able to board the local trains.
"Suburban train services will be thrown open to the public on Wednesday. Hawkers are not officially allowed to neither board the train nor at the platform," said Ishaq Khan, Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) of Howrah.
The state government is taking all sorts of measures along with the railways to check Covid infection by following a standard operating procedure (SOP). According to the sources, if everything goes as planned around 696 trains is expected to operate from Wednesday.
At the outset Eastern Railway will run 413 suburban trains over Sealdah Division and 202 over Howrah Division. Out of 413 trains in the Sealdah Division, 270 will ply on the Sealdah Main/North (including Circular Railway) and 143 in the Sealdah South Section.
During peak hours to avoid overcrowding in trains, out of time tabled 177 services, 148 services will run for convenience as well as for maintaining health and hygiene protocol of the commuters. It is about 84 per
cent of the total time tabled services during peak hours. It will also facilitate the passengers to avail train services in short successession.
Meanwhile, private bus operators have decided to run more buses as suburban train services resume on Wednesday. The decision comes after state Transport department officials and private bus operators conducted a meeting on Tuesday.
"At present, there are 2500 buses running across the city. Tomorrow onwards, there will be around 3500 buses and minibuses plying across the city," said Pradip Narayan Bose, secretary of West Bengal Bus and Minibus Owners' Association Secretary. During pre-Covid 19 period, 6000 buses used to ply in Kolkata. There are 42000 in the state.
"We will increase the number of buses gradually because most buses's CF has expired," said Tapan Banerjee, general secretary of Joint Council of Bus Syndicates.